As the new year begins, both the federal government and many state governments are considering gun control legislation in the aftermath of the tragic Newtown shootings of Dec. 14. New York has just passed more stringent laws on gun control. Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy has formed an advisory commission to make recommendations for similar measures to be considered this spring in Connecticut.
Connecticut has long had a deep ambivalence about the gun industry. No state in the union has a longer history for gun production than Connecticut. Samuel Colt of Hartford ( see photo in gallery), Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson of Norwich, Christian Sharps of Vernon, Christopher Spencer of Manchester, Oliver Winchester of New Haven, and Oliver Bidwell — who built the first pistol factory in the United States in Middletown in 1810 — are all among the most famous names in the history of guns and gun production in the U.S.
Connecticut's nickname as the "arsenal of democracy" is well deserved.
Yet, when guns fall into the wrong hands, the results can often be tragic. As a result, despite Connecticut's long history of economic dependence on the defense industry in general and the small arms industry in particular, Connecticut has some of the toughest gun restrictions in the country, and they may get tougher.
The ambivalence felt by Connecticut residents can also be found to varying degrees throughout the United States and the world, as the following 12 quotations clearly demonstrate. See if you can match the quotations with the following list of people. ( Note: Some won't be used, and others may surprise you!)
A. Noah Webster B. Hubert Humphrey C. Adolph Hitler
D. John F. Kennedy E. Sen. Dianne Feinstein F. Charlton Heston
G. Robin Williams H. Dalai Lama I. Clint Eastwood
J. Richard Nixon K. Rosie O'Donnell L. Gandhi
M. Mario Puzo N. Sen. John McCain O. Rep. Paul Ryan
1. "Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government ... is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms."
2. "Guns are an abomination!"
3. " I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it."
4. " Among other evils which being unarmed brings you, it causes you to be despised."
5. "But if someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, ... it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun."
6. "In England, if you commit a crime, the police don't have a gun. If you commit a crime, the police will say, "Stop, or I'll say stop again!"
7. " Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe."
8. " If I could have banned them all — Mr. And Mrs. America turn in your gun — I would have."
9. "A lawyer with a briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns."
10. " Hey, I am a Catholic deer hunter. I am happy to be clinging to my guns and my religion."
11. " Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."
12. " I don't care if you want to hunt. I don't care if you think it's your right. I say, "Sorry, it's 1999. We have had enough as a nation. You are not allowed to own a gun, and if you do own a gun, I think you ought to go to prison."
(Answers: 1. B 2. J 3. I 4. F 5. H 6. G 7. A 8. E 9. M 10. O 11. L 12. K )